Digital Literacy

By Ray Finley and Rachel Bohnhoff

Definition and Overview

Digital Literacy is "the ability to find, evaluate, utilize, share, and create content using information technologies and the Internet" (Cornell University 2009). This means being able to do a variety of activities and tasks such as uploading and sharing images and videos and creating web pages, as well as knowing how to safely proceed through various processes and abide by the legal procedures of copyright and other parts of digital law. It also means to be able to read information presented on a computer, (or other digital device), interpret it and evaluate it, and to be able to take from it in a more critical understanding.

Digital literacy is also the teaching of technology usage, specifically in classrooms. It can be as simple as learning to surf the web and showing others how. Ensuring that the youth of today are as "tech-savvy" as we believe them to be is an important job (Jones, slide 7). "Technology has shifted from the personal experience to the community experience" (Jones 18), meaning that technology advancement is primarily for the use of communicating with others and sharing information, thus it is necessary that we learn to use technology to efficiently and effectively communicate. Teachers are teaching digital literacy. This means they are teaching students how to create the means for sharing information and communicating with the rest of the world, often through the creation of blogs and wikis.

Digital literacy is a movement meant to make sure we are not limited or controlled by the technology we use, but are using it as a tool, a resource for our needs. A term that may accompany 'digital literacy' is Web 2.0. Web 2.0 comes from the span of time when the internet underwent a resurgence after 2001 and grew to become as prominent and powerful as it is now (O' Reilly 1). It is used to describe this new age of technological progression we find ourselves in, with advancements occurring everyday! Web 2.0 is the world moving forward, digital literacy is the act of teaching the world so it can move forward.

Learn More
1. Watch this video starting at 2:44 to learn more about statistics concerning digital literacy and its importance:

2. Check out this slide show on what digital literacy is, why there's a rising focus on it, and the tools you can use to help it grow.

3. Part of the slideshow in #2, this video outlines the power of text and form as we progress into the present.

Show What You Know


Cornell University (2009) Retrieved from:

Jones, Kyle. (2007, March 14). Digital Literacy in a 2.0 World. Retrieved from:

O' Reilly, Tim. (2005, September 30). What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software. Retrieved from:

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2008, October 15) Digital Literacy Definition and Resources.
Retrieved from:

Resources for Teachers and Kids

For Kids
OnGuard Online
Computer Parts Game
Temple university- Pop Studio

For Teachers
Digital Literacy for Educators